RealTime IT News

IBM Readies Smoother BPM

IBM has put the finishing touches on software to improve the management of business processes in distributed computing environments.

BPEL Tracking for Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance will provide customers with a one-window view of business processes, along with tools to locate problems within a claim or purchase order running on an application.

The idea is to help customers save money and time using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach to business process management (BPM) , according to an IBM statement. Big Blue sees SOAs as models that reuse assets such as code to help applications communicate and work together, often to conduct transactions or other tasks.

In one scenario, an insurance company using the new software could view only claims processing, instead of monitoring several IT transactions and attempting to map them back to business functions. The tool will alert users to performance problems with the claim.

Different processes have different performance, availability and response time, so the tool also sets policies to accommodate and monitor different jobs in a supply chain.

For example, a programmer can write a monitoring policy that will watch an insurance claim's business process and script a separate policy to protect a personal loan business process. Both policies would work independently of one another, ensuring the user's specifications are met.

These perks represent a marked improvement over previous business process performance on a computer network. IT transaction problems could not easily be linked to the business processes they support or properly monitored. This made it difficult to prioritize which IT problems to address.

With the new Tivoli tool, companies that use the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) specification can tie business processes to IT transactions. This will help companies identify transaction paths and isolate IT components responsible for a business process failure.

BPEL Tracking for Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance is available now on IBM's online alphaWorks community.

Various researchers, such as IDC and Gartner, see SOAs and Web services as virtually untapped, multi-billion-dollar markets.

This is why IBM has been one of the more active companies on the hunt for developing SOAs. Big Blue wants corporations to use its software to run and regulate their business tasks on computer networks, and the company has unveiled more than a dozen products on that front in the last two years.

Though not as prodigious as IBM, software vendors Microsoft, BEA Systems, Oracle, Computer Associates and others are all developing products for simplifying and lowering the cost of shared computing.